Last April 24, Google has officially launched its search algorithm update to target webspam. Called as the Penguin Update, it is designed to catch website owners who spam search results or purposely do things to rank better. As posted by Google’s Head of Webspam Team Matt Cutts:
“In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm update targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s quality guidelines. This algorithm represents another step in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content.”
Google defines webspam as pages that are trying to gain better rankings by means of keyword stuffing, link schemes, cloaking, “sneaky” directories, “doorway” pages and purposeful duplicate content.
Recovering From Penguin Update’s Peck
It is said that the Penguin Update can affect 3 percent of search queries. In most cases, Google will send messages to the webmaster about their website’s spammy activities. But it is unlikely to arrive at the inbox of other owners who have unverified accounts.
Therefore, the best way to know if a website is affected by the change is to check its analytics since April 24. If a dramatic drop in traffic is present, it’s possible that it was hit by the Penguin Update. In order to remove the penalty, the website owner must correct anything that Google flagged as spammy. If there were no flags, remove anything that’s spam-like.
The Feedback Form and “Report Webspam Button”
Unfortunately, the Penguin Update disables a webmaster for a reconsideration request. That’s because it is an algorithm update that is applied automatically. This means that no human employee spots for a webspam and applies manual penalty.
However, Cutts shared that webmasters can fill out a feedback form in case their website was mistakenly affected by the update. On the other hand, they can also report a website that they deem uses spammy techniques using a Report Webspam Button.
Just simply head to the standard spam reporting page and hit the button. This will bring a user to a form where he or she can enter the URL of the spammy page, the exact query where it appears and any additional details. Just remember to use the keyword “Penguin” as part of the details field.
The Penguin Update is not meant to make it difficult for website owners and search engine optimization practitioners to rank their content. What Google want is to encourage them to continue with their best SEO practices.
“Our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics….
“We want people doing white hat search engine optimization (or even no search engine optimization at all) to be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling websites.”